Toward the end of an oversight hearing Friday concerning the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, former youth corrections officer Keith McDaniel offered testimony that sharply questioned DYRS Director Neil Stanley’s leadership, judgment, character and integrity.
Mr. Stanley survived a bruising confirmation process in 2011, but the hearing had gone about as well for him as could be expected, except that Mr. McDaniel, who says he was fired after being wrongfully accused of sexual misconduct, was asking D.C. Council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, to obtain an investigative report he says will exonerate him.
Mr. McDaniel says the report will help expose a tale of “power, deceit and total abuse of authority” on the part of Mr. Stanley, a journeyman bureaucrat and former DYRS general counsel tapped by Mayor Vincent C. Gray despite unanimous opposition by the labor unions representing employees at DYRS.
Agency officials declined to discuss the testimony after the hearing, and Mr. Stanley declined repeated requests to be interviewed for this report.
Mr. McDaniel says that prior to accusations against him, Mr. Stanley inappropriately urged him to go outside his chain of command and become an informant on managers who Mr. Stanley did not like. In exchange for becoming the director’s snitch, Mr. Stanley promised to promote Mr. McDaniel into the positions of those he would be asked to denigrate, according to the testimony.
“It was obvious he wanted something more from me, because of his promises to me that if I acted a certain way towards my immediate supervisors, kept an eye on them and reported back to him, he would terminate them and promote me into one of their positions,” Mr. McDaniel said during his testimony.
“Mr. Stanley would come to the Youth Services Center and would come straight to my location and spend a great amount of time talking with me about work and personal matters,” he said. “He would state to me repeatedly that he disliked both deputy Superintendents Ms. Charlotte Richardson and Mr. Ronald Hutchins and that he was going to get rid of them.”
Mr. McDaniel said he felt coerced by Mr. Stanley’s overtures: “Mr. Stanley continued to make promises to me about promotions, provided his personal cellphone number to me and regularly invited me out for drinks. He also promised to hire my brother, if I continued to cooperate with him which he did.
“I felt I was being groomed in a manner that was crossing the line, yet I could not break ties with Mr. Stanley because he was my superior and he had already demonstrated that he manages by firing people whom he dislikes.”
Mr. McDaniel was escorted last July from the Youth Services Center (YSC), which houses detained youth awaiting commitment, and placed on administrative leave, The Washington Times reported, when a 28-year-old female subordinate accused him of forcing her to repeatedly perform oral sex in his office, prompting investigations by local police, D.C. officials and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
“She performed the sexual acts because [the suspect] was her supervisor, and she believed she would lose her job if she did not perform the acts,” stated a police report obtained by The Times.
Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Detective Lowell G. Grier was assigned to investigate the matter, according to internal emails obtained by The Times that identified Mr. McDaniel. Eventually, the matter was referred to the D.C. Office of the Attorney General (OAG) for investigation.